Like many women, I rushed to the movie theatre the other night with my girlfriends, eager to see the highly anticipated “Bad Moms.” While it wasn’t the next great Oscar contender, it sure resonated with all of us. Why? Whether you are a mom or not, it’s relatable.
The premise of the movie is to suggest that hard as we try, none of us are perfect. When we have those moments of imperfection, we are often judged and considered “bad” at that which we set out to do. Striving to do our best is different than attempting to achieve an unrealistic standard in our lives unilaterally. I've dumbed it down to two things to overcome this: prioritization and confidence. I spent this past month trying to learn how do exactly this.
Whether you are a mom, a dad, a pet owner or just have a life outside of work, so many of our existences are filled with things we have to do, as well as the things we want to do. When you partner all of those things with a drive to give your very best at everything, you’re looking at mental and physical burnout.
I've learned the trick is to determine what truly matters to me. I've learned if I give my best efforts to those things, everything else needs to take a lower priority. For example, I’m a single working mom. I quickly learned after my divorce that if I wanted to be home at night to make dinner for my daughters and spend some quality time catching up with them in the evening, I had to prioritize the choice to hit the office at the crack of dawn so I could use that quiet block as a “get my work done” time. Not going to lie; it’s not fun when the alarm goes off early and I’m at my desk by 6:30 am. However, the prioritized time I get on the back end to achieve my mission of spending that time with my kids is invaluable.
This past month, I connected with other people trying to do this as well, to see how they make it work. Those with balance appear to edit their schedules to prioritize to what works for them. Some trade their lunch break for the gym, as health is important to them. Some listen to podcasts during their commute so they can fuel their brains with new things. The point is, we are all individuals, with things that are important to each us.
Last year, I thought I was going to enter 2016 by being in a totally different place career wise. I decided to stay in my current role for a variety of reasons. However, the one big caveat was that I had to do it a little differently so I could approach my work and life with a new lens, and accomplish some of the other things on my "list" that were important to me. And then I had to have the confidence and energy to go make it happen.
I started by figuring out what my want to do and need to do priorities were. Then I looked to prune them, prioritize them, and outsource as necessary. My kids joke about "our staff", but having a reliable sitter who can shuttle the kids to their activities, a cleaning person who saves me hours I can reallocate and a dog walker who can ensure my dog gets a great long walk in every day aren't just time savers - they are part of a grand plan to ensure my life is in sync and I'm getting to accomplish "the important stuff" to the best of my ability.
This month, I took a good hard look at how the first half of the year has gone. I reviewed my calendar, and took a pulse check on what was going well, and what I needed to tweak to ensure I was achieving - and what I wasn't. With the help of a little prioritization, I have taken the pressure off of some of the items; they just aren't that critical to ace. However, I've put more attention on some of the things I realized were bigger priorities, and am now spending a little extra energy on those things.
Whether you are a parent, a recent college grad, or anyone in between, we all have jam packed lives and often do our very best to live them to the best of our abilities. However, when we can prioritize and determine what’s truly important – and then create alternatives to how to take a little pressure off those that don’t require our very best effort - we make our lives significantly more manageable. If that’s truly what we call being a “bad mom,” I’m working on perfecting being the worst.